Growing up you were always told to be kind;
kids tend to not listen, though.
“You’re a girl, you can’t play with us!”
“Ew! You’re gross.”
At that time in life, no one really cared.
Then things changed; we grew up a little.
Middle school came around,
belonging to the right groups suddenly seemed like life or death.
The kids got worse.
“Did you see what she’s wearing?”
“No one cares about you.”
When hormones are raging and life is confusing enough,
even the smallest comments feel devastating.
Then puberty hit, high school came around.
Being in a relationship was top priority,
rumors and gossip became daily life.
The kids are brutal.
“Did you hear about her and that guy?”
“He didn’t rape you. You started it.”
“I heard you tried killing yourself . . . better luck next time.”
There are wars going on in these halls.
Their weapons are words, slung like rocks at windows.
To shatter you, before someone else shatters them.
And the schools? Do the bare minimum.
Last time bullying was talked about seriously was five years ago
back when our only worry was who would be at the park,
before any of us cared,
before sexual assault became a real anxiety,
before my best friend tried to kill himself the first time.
Where along the lines did things change?
Who else has to die for us to really care?
We talk about news all the time in class,
“Did you see Trump’s newest tweet?”
“What are the Kardashians up to?”
“That Brock kid’s attorney says it’ll ruin his future to be put on the sex offenders list!”
But we rarely discuss what’s going on in our own building.
Last year alone
my friend was kicked out by her parents;
another was hit by his;
I was raped by a senior;
a third became a ward of the state.
All the administration cares about?
If we show up,
get our work done,
and don’t make a scene.
My time is almost up;
what’s done is done.
The cracks in this system won’t affect me much longer--
I worry more for the future generations.
"I write when I’m anxious. I wrote 'Consequences' when I was thinking about the school system and how it has affected me." - Kyla Stidham, 12th grade, Bellevue East Senior High School.